In her novel, A Town Like No Other, Elfreda Knaus uses the backdrop of the Rapture of the Christian church to showcase truths about putting on the “full of armor of God,” how to live a Christian life, and how to trust that God will work in extraordinary ways to save even one soul.
Knaus attempts to paint the hellish scene of post-Rapture chaos through the experiences of Tom—a porn-addicted, deadbeat husband and father. When the townspeople ransack every home and burn all the books, Tom becomes desperate for something to do. After finding his wife’s Bible buried under ashes, he latches on to the religion he had shunned and ignites hope in the remnant of townspeople left behind.
While Knaus’ basic plot is not unique, she creates a few twists that differentiate the story from other Rapture tales. Her non-fiction skills are highlighted in the “notes” she tucks toward the middle of the book. Through these intriguing notes, she correlates the Christian’s spiritual armor, as outlined in Ephesians 6, with the physical armor of an ancient Roman soldier. Here, Knaus’ depth of understanding of Christianity and her love for God are evident and encouraging.
Unfortunately, this bright moment is overshadowed by Knaus’ seeming inexperience with fiction. Dry, monochrome narration leaves readers disconnected from what should be vivid action carefully crafted through descriptive sights, smells, and emotions. The setting is unclear; it’s difficult to relate to the characters, and dialogue is unnatural and incorrectly formatted, making it difficult to follow who is speaking. For example, Knaus writes, with no attribution: “…Bill walked into the house, ‘You look strange, what happened to you, you look funny.’” Spelling and grammar mistakes can be found on nearly every page, leaving Knaus’ writing feeling clunky and unpolished.
Knaus’ friends and family may enjoy her story. However, the novel needs careful revision in order to bring this manuscript to life and make it marketable to a larger audience.
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